Fleetwood and Brown awarded England Women Sevens contracts

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England players Victoria Fleetwood and Abbie Brown (pictured above) have been awarded central contracts from the Rugby Football Union for the forthcoming season.

Victoria Fleetwood in action, England Women v Italy Women in Women's 6 Nations Match at Twickenham Stoop, Twickenham, England, on 15th February 2015. Final score 39-7.


Victoria Fleetwood in action against Italy at Twickenham.

The duo join a squad of 17 players from last season who have had their contracts renewed.  A 20th and final member of the squad will be confirmed shortly.

Fleetwood and Brown replace Abigail Chamberlain, who has announced her retirement from international rugby, and Leanne Riley, who will now focus on XVs rugby. The centrally contracted players will contest the HSBC Sevens World Series and compete for a spot in the Great Britain Olympic sevens squad in 2015-2016.

Rugby World Cup winner Fleetwood joins the England Sevens set-up after impressing in the Rugby Europe Grand Prix series this season while Bristol’s Brown has enjoyed a whirlwind year, making her XVs debut against Wales in the Six Nations before playing for England Sevens in the Rugby Europe Grand Prix series also.

“It has been a rigorous process selecting this squad but I am really excited about this group of players,” said England Women’s Head Coach Simon Middleton, who has also been named as the GB Sevens Women’s Head Coach. “When we looked closely at how the players progressed physically, mentally and on the pitch over the last ten months and how they have delivered on the world stage we felt changes were necessary in order to add the right positional balance.

“Players like Kay Wilson, Heather Fisher and Emily Scott have had a tough year with injuries but I think can make a real impact going forward. We also have to have one eye on the future so players like Abbie, who are at the start of their international careers, can keep developing and improving their game. Additionally, we will also continue to work with players outside of this squad, from the Elite Playing Squad and the academy programme, to ensure we have long term development in this programme.

“Going into the new season, we know this is going to be a hugely exciting year. We have to keep improving our performances on the World Series and we hope by bringing these players into the squad we will not only add to the existing quality but also inject some energy and youth into our squad. We will also work closely with Great Britain Sevens to deliver a first class programme for our Olympic ambitions.”

The England Sevens squad, who returned from their summer break last week, will continue to be based out of Surrey Sports Park and Twickenham Stadium.

England Sevens Squad

Michaela Staniford (Wasps)

Marlie Packer (Wasps)

Danielle Waterman (Bristol)

Amy Wilson-Hardy (Bristol)

Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)

Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)

Alice Richardson (Richmond)

Sarah McKenna (Saracens)

Emily Scarratt (Lichfield)

Joanne Watmore (Richmond)

Natasha Brennan (Richmond)

Kay Wilson (Thurrock)

Alexandra Matthews (Richmond)

Emily Scott (Thurrock)

Claire Allan (Richmond)

Heather Fisher (Thurrock)

Abbie Brown (Bristol)

Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens)

Rachael Burford (Thurrock)